Marks and Cunningham Top Opening World Challenge Practice in Long Beach

On an uncharacteristic weather day at Long Beach, Justin Marks, of Davidson, N.C., and Peter Cunningham, of Milwaukee, Wis., topped their class time charts in opening practice for Sunday's Pirelli World Challenge Long Beach Grand Prix presented by StopTech.

Steady rains for much of the day produced wet track conditions for Pirelli World Challenge Championships practice, despite the fact that the sun made its first appearance of the day shortly before the session started and shone brightly throughout the 30 minutes. As a result of the conditions, many drivers elected to forego the session.

Marks, who is making his first appearance at the Long Beach street circuit, wasn't one of those drivers. Driving the No. 46 GoPro/Mooresville Motorplex Porsche 911 GT3, Marks stood atop the time charts for much of the session and consistently lowered his time. His best lap was a 1:31.504 (77.426 mph).

"I've never been here before, so I had to go and just run that session hard," Marks said. "There wasn't really anybody else out there. A lot of guys just didn't have the need to run it, but I've never been here so I had to. I ran the whole session. I never came in. I ran it start to finish as hard as I could, and that just lent itself to getting a fast lap. It's not really indicative of anything for the weekend. It was just the fact that I needed some laps. When we come back tomorrow morning and everyone is out there, then we'll get a real indication of where we're at."

Second quickest was Marks' TruSpeed teammate, Tomy Drissi, of Hollywood, Calif. Drissi posted a best time of 1:33.573 (75.714 mph) in the No. 47 The Three Stooges The Movie Porsche 911 GT3. However, Drissi's session ended a bit early due to right front suspension issues.

Third quickest in GT was Anders Hainer, of Hidden Hills, Calif., in the brand new No. 40 GMG Audi R8 LMS. Hainer posted a best lap at 1:37.556 (72.623 mph).

The GTS session saw a familiar name at the top of the time sheet as Cunningham logged a best lap at 1:38.277 (72.090 mph) in the No. 42 RealTime Racing/Acura/HPD Acura TSX. Like Marks, Cunningham downplayed the significance of leading the session with improved weather conditions expected for the remainder of the weekend.

"That session being mostly wet doesn't really mean anything if the weather forecast shows that it's going to be Chamber of Commerce weather tomorrow and Sunday, but it was fun to get out there and see how the Pirelli wet tires worked," Cunningham said. "We stayed on them for a couple laps and then switched to drys. There were some parts of the track that were very dry and other parts that were not. I was just kind of getting the feel for it, not taking any risks or anything. The Acuras are going to do well in those conditions, I think, but the rest of the weekend is what counts. We're all set and excited to be here."

Second quickest in GTS was Cunningham's RealTime Racing teammate, Nick Esayian, of San Diego, Calif. Esayian's best lap was a 1:40.942 (70.186 mph) in the No. 34 RealTime Racing/Acura/HPD Acura TSX.

Newlywed Colin Braun, of Charlotte, N.C., was third quickest in GTS practice. Braun – who got married last weekend – posted a best lap at 1:41.648 (69.699 mph) in the No. 38 Infinity Audio/Kia Motors America Kia Optima.

Saturday's schedule at the Pirelli World Challenge Long Beach Grand Prix presented by StopTech includes a practice session from 7:15 to 7:45 a.m. PT and an all-driver autograph session from 12:00 Noon to 1:00 p.m. PT.

Sunday's race goes off from a standing start at 4:15 p.m. PT. The race will be available via live webcast beginning at 7:00 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network will televise the race at 3:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, April 29.

LONG BEACH, Calif. – Results from practice session #1 for Sunday's Pirelli World Challenge Championships Round 3 race, the Pirelli World Challenge Long Beach Grand Prix presented by StopTech, with position, class, car number in parentheses, driver, hometown, car, fastest lap time, and speed in miles per hour.

1. GT, (46), Justin Marks, Davidson, N.C., Porsche 911 GT3, 1:31.504, 77.426.
2. GT, (47), Tomy Drissi, Hollywood, Calif., Porsche 911 GT3, 1:33.573, 75.714.
3. GT, (40), Anders Hainer, Hidden Hills, Calif., Audi R8 LMS, 1:37.556, 72.623.
4. GTS, (42), Peter Cunningham, Milwaukee, Wis., Acura TSX, 1:38.277, 72.090.
5. GTS, (34), Nick Esayian, San Diego, Calif., Acura TSX, 1:40.942, 70.186.
6. GTS, (38), Colin Braun, Charlotte, N.C., Kia Optima, 1:41.648, 69.699.
7. GTS, (36), Michael Galati, Olmstead Falls, Ohio, Kia Optima 2000cc, 1:41.741, 69.635.
8. GT, (02), Brian Kubinski, Charlotte, N.C., Corvette Z06, 1:42.432, 69.165.
9. GTS, (23), Roger Miller(R), Salt Lake City, Utah, Ford Mustang Boss 302S, 1:43.889, 68.195.
10. GT, (99), Jeff Courtney, Milwaukee, Wis., Porsche 911 GT3, 1:46.800, 66.337.
11. GTS, (52), Greg Shaffer, Harrisonburg, Va., Nissan 370 Z, 1:50.494, 64.119.
12. GTS, (96), Brad Adams, New Orleans, La., Ford Mustang Boss 302S, 1:50.561, 64.080.
13. GT, (14), James Sofronas, Newport Beach, Calif., Porsche 911 GT3, 1:53.243, 62.562.
14. GTS, (28), Lou Gigliotti, Dallas, Texas, Chevrolet Camaro, 1:54.494, 61.879.
15. GT, (8), Andy Pilgrim, Marina Del Rey, Fla., Cadillac CTS-V Coupe, 2:09.371, 54.763.
16. GT, (3), Johnny O'Connell, Flowery Branch, Ga., Cadillac CTS-V Coupe, 2:09.459, 54.726.
17. GT, (1), Lawson Aschenbach, Darnestown, Md., Porsche 911 GT3, no time.
18. GT, (2), Mike Skeen, Charlotte, N.C., Nissan GTR, no time.
19. GT, (4), Dino Crescentini, Manhattan Beach, Calif., Porsche 911 GT3, no time.
20. GT, (6), Randy Pobst, Gainesville, Ga., Volvo S60, no time.
21. GT, (9), Alex Figge, Denver, Colo., Volvo S60 AWD, no time.
22. GT, (11), Tony Gaples, Lincolnshire, Ill., Chevrolet Corvette, no time.
23. GT, (12), Jason Daskalos, Albuquerque, N.M., Nissan GTR, no time.
24. GTS, (20), Andy Lee(R), Colorado Springs, Colo., Chevrolet Camaro, no time.
25. GTS, (26), Alfonso Perri(R), Brooklyn, N.Y., Ford Mustang Boss 302S, no time.
26. GTS, (29), Harry Curtin(R), Buffalo, N.Y., Chevrolet Camaro, no time.
27. GT, (44), Brent Holden, Newport Beach, Calif., Porsche 911 GT3, no time.
28. GTS, (50), Justin Bell, Los Angeles, Calif., Ford Mustang Boss 302S, no time.
29. GTS, (51), Ric Bushey, Virginia Beach, Va., Nissan 370 Z, no time.
30. GTS, (68), Jack Baldwin, Marietta, Ga., Porsche Cayman S, no time.
31. GT, (77), David Welch, Bothell, Wash., Ferrari F430 GT, no time.
32. GT, (85), Steve Ott, Houston, Texas, Porsche 911 GT3, no time.
33. GTS, (95), Bill Ziegler, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., Mitsubishi EVO, no time.
34. GTS, (01), Don Istook, River Oaks, Texas, Audi TT RX, no time.
35. GTS, (07), Brian Kleeman(R), Towson, Md., Nissan 370 Z, no time.

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